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Passing of Marvel Comic pioneer Stan Lee inspires CMU library search tool

Grand Junction - From World War II and the tensions between good and evil to the Cold War and seeking social justice, American graphic novels have played a role in shaping societal and cultural values through time. In honor of the passing of Marvel Comics author Stan Lee, the CMU Library has launched a new search mechanism allowing students to find historic and contemporary graphic novels using a simple search engine tool. The CMU library team developed the new search engine tool. 

Head of Public Services of Tomlinson Library Rose Petralia, realized that graphic novels and comic books were difficult to find for students within the library's large quantity of literary material.  

"Our passion in public service is making students’ experiences excellent every day — whether that means helping with a research question or engaging in a seemingly little thing like finding a great book," said Petralia. "In the wake of Mr. Lee's passing, we've received a higher than usual volume of comic book requests. Since we have graphic novels on a wide variety of subjects, the new graphic novel genre tool is making that process more manageable for hard-to-find volumes." 

Stan Lee popularized comic books as the editor and publisher of Marvel Comics, growing the genre with franchise volumes including Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-men and numerous other popular culture titles. Petralia believes that pop-culture comics are what people think about when they talk about graphic novels, but that these books and magazines represent a larger body of academic and cultural works. 

"While Lee popularized comics and graphic novels, they have always played a role in American literature and culture. This art form communicated anxieties about going to war, and continues to evolve as an accessible medium for often difficult subjects — from the Iranian Revolution to being transgender in America to understanding calculus, graphic novels have played a role in shaping family, academic and cultural life in our country for generations." 

Students and members of the public interested in learning more about the university’s collection of graphic novels, and how to find them using the new tool, are encouraged to visit the library during operating hours.